Security in Smart Cars
One of the biggest problems with today’s modern cars is the technology integrated into them, or more specifically, the security of the technology integrated into them. While consumers often complain about outdated and outmoded technology, which can’t be upgraded after a purchase, they seldom think about the technology’s security measures becoming obsolete over time. Technology in cars has become increasingly powerful, with features like lane keeping and changing assistants, autopilot, radar-guided cruise control systems, automatic parking, etc. While these features certainly help drivers to avoid accidents, the underlying technology is vulnerable to misuse which poses an enormous liability.
There have been notable incidents in the news of a cars’ technology being hacked, and essentially turning the car itself into a missile on the road, with the occupants being completely helpless inside. Sadly, as the automotive world becomes increasingly reliant on connected technologies, these kinds of exploitations will inevitably become more common. While some manufacturers may properly secure their systems against such intrusions, it’s also certain that many will not. A car manufacturer’s expertise is in building cars, not securing the devices and networks that are used to connect to them.
This leaves drivers exposed to the dangers of an unsecured vehicle that could potentially harm them and others. This also opens manufacturers up to an enormous amount of liability, which could harm their sales and business. As we continue to develop increasingly more complex and technically integrated vehicles, the cybersecurity models that secure those same vehicles against malicious attack must radically improve in parallel.
The WhiteStar Solution
A solution to this problem is WhiteStar Communications Network Operating System (NOS) which allows devices to connect to each other, with complete security, over the smallest network attack surface area as possible. WhiteStar’s cryptographically secure NOS solves the issue of how to both securely connect devices within a vehicle, in addition to securely connecting externally to the vehicle itself. The beauty of the WhiteStar NOS lies in its’ simplicity. Devices connect together via a secure hybrid peer-to-peer overlay network allowing for full first-party trusted communication without a cloud infrastructure. We call this technology Cohorts and it’s one of the many patented security features used by the WhiteStar NOS. The heart of the WhiteStar Cohort protocol, in which devices create relationships based on unique exchanged key-pairs that roll on each packet, prevents unwanted devices from attaching to the network and controlling devices they don’t have permission to control. This system is detailed in the security section of our website.
If you think of an individual car as its’ own intranet, it is possible to use WhiteStar’s Cohort protocol to connect devices together within the car, allowing them to function in tandem with complete security. This is a powerful way of securing devices on a small scale, but WhiteStar also secures the car’s connectivity with the internet at large. The Cohort system will allow a car to create a secure connection with the rest of the internet, meaning the car can safely connect to services that provide GPS guidance, music and video streaming for entertainment, remote diagnostics and software updates. WhiteStar eliminates any potential attack vector for remote tampering with the vehicle by fully securing all inputs into the car’s internal network, and also simultaneously protects the connectivity between the devices within the car.
One of the best aspects of the WhiteStar NOS from a developmental perspective is its’ ease of implementation. Since it’s an overlay network, it’s adaptable to most existing hardware as a software upgrade. Plus, WhiteStar natively communicates with both mobile phones and IoT devices, making it the perfect communications fabric for device-to-device and man-to-device communications. This means automakers save valuable time and money simplifying the development process of the software that goes into their vehicles, and with WhiteStar at the heart of their system, security is baked right into that fabric. Automakers no longer worry about securing a costly Cloud backend with all the liabilities inherent to storing and processing sensitive data. Instead WhiteStar devices form networks from the edge, eliminating the need for the Cloud entirely.
WhiteStar’s ability to operate without a centralized Cloud system also helps drive costs down for device manufacturers who are increasingly cost conscience with respect to Cloud enabled services. Clouds represent a high recurring cost to automakers, who pass those costs along to customers in the form of subscriptions. Often connectivity services are extremely expensive in cars leading customers to opt out of purchasing them for their vehicles. WhiteStar is very inexpensive to implement, leading to a vastly reduced cost of delivering Cloud-like functionality to customers, potentially opening up new customers who would pay a previously unobtainable lower price, or offering connectivity services for free.